NICE sets new standards to improve care for people with psoriasis


London, UK (August 6, 2013) – The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, NICE, has today set new standards for the quality of care for people with psoriasis – an irritable skin condition characterised by red, flaky crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales. More than 1.3 million people in the UK are living with psoriasis, which mainly develops in people who are under 35 years old. Although incurable, psoriasis can be managed.


Professor Gillian Leng, Director of Health and Social Care at NICE, said: ““Psoriasis is more than just a skin condition – it is caused by a faulty immune system. People who have it are more prone to low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. Around one in seven people with psoriasis go on to develop psoriatic arthritis which, if left untreated, gets worse over time causing pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints.


“While there are a range of effective treatments available, not everyone has the same access to them. Our new quality standard, which is primarily aimed at GPs but also relevant to hospital specialists, aims to encourage the highest standards of care.”


The new standards set by NICE aim to improve the care of people with psoriasis across England.


People being treated for psoriasis should be offered the chance to see a doctor or other health professional each year to check for signs of psoriatic arthritis – which occurs when the disease affects a person’s joints but which is often undiagnosed. It affects about one in seven people with psoriasis.


At least once every five years, each person with psoriasis should be checked for signs of heart problems.


When people with psoriasis are diagnosed with the condition and at follow-up appointments, they should receive an assessment of how the disease has affected them physically, psychologically and socially.


Healthcare professionals should refer people with psoriasis to a skin specialist (dermatologist) as needed.


David Chandler, Chief Executive of the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance, said: “Psoriasis can be a very lonely and isolating disease, which goes beyond just treating the skin. As someone who has had psoriasis for more than 35 years, I fully understand the issues faced by people with the condition. Creating a clear set of standards will start to provide greater awareness and understanding of the needs and associated health problems people with psoriasis will face, particularly when initially diagnosed at primary care level.


“Assessing the psychological impact of such a visible condition has on an individual is particularly significant and highlighting this within the treatment pathway will be an important step forward for patients.”


Helen McAteer, Chief Executive of the Psoriasis Association, said: “The Psoriasis Association largely welcomes the NICE quality standard on psoriasis and is pleased to see that it highlights the need for assessment of both physical symptoms and the psychosocial impact of the condition not only at diagnosis, but also when response to treatment is assessed. By defining when treatment response should be assessed, we hope healthcare professionals will be able to better support their patients by encouraging them to return regularly for follow-up appointments rather than persevere for long periods of time on sub-optimal treatments.


“The quality standard offers clear understanding to patients as to the service they should expect when seeking help for their psoriasis, and to healthcare professionals and commissioners as to the service they should be providing in order to treat people with psoriasis holistically and efficiently.”


The quality standard aims to complement existing NICE guidance on the diagnosis, treatment and management of psoriasis, which was published last year.




Notes to editors


The NICE quality standard for psoriasis will be available on the NICE website from Tuesday 6 August 2013.


NICE is also publishing a draft version of a quality standard on peripheral arterial disease for public consultation. It will be available on the NICE website from Tuesday 6 August 2013 and the consultation will run until 4 September 2013.



About NICE quality standards


NICE quality standards aim to help commissioners, health care professionals, social care and public health practitioners and service providers improve the quality of care that they deliver.


NICE quality standards are prioritised statements designed to drive measurable quality improvements within a particular area of health or care. There is an average of 6-8 statements in each quality standard.


Quality standards are derived from high quality evidence-based guidance, such as NICE guidance or guidance from NICE accredited sources, and are produced collaboratively with health care professionals, social care and public health practitioners, along with their partner organisations, patients, carers and service users.


NICE quality standards are not mandatory but they can be used for a wide range of purposes both locally and nationally. For example, patients and service users can use quality standards to help understand what high-quality care should include. Health care professionals and social care and public health practitioners can use quality standards to help deliver high quality care and treatment.


NICE quality standards are not requirements or targets, but the health and social care system is obliged to have regard to them in planning and delivering services, as part of a general duty to secure continuous improvement in quality.


Quality standard topics are formally referred to NICE by NHS England (an executive non-departmental public body, established in October 2012) for health-related areas, and by the Department of Health and Department for Education for areas such as social care and public health.



About NICE


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for driving improvement and excellence in the health and social care system. We develop guidance, standards and information on high-quality health and social care. We also advise on ways to promote healthy living and prevent ill health.


Our aim is to help practitioners deliver the best possible care and give people the most effective treatments, which are based on the most up-to-date evidence and provide value for money, in order to reduce inequalities and variation.


Our products and resources are produced for the NHS, local authorities, care providers, charities, and anyone who has a responsibility for commissioning or providing healthcare, public health or social care services.


To find out more about what we do follow us on Twitter: @NICEComms


This page was last updated: 05 August 2013



National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 06.08.2013 (tB).


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